Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Art of the Barfly

I just returned from a weekend long writer's conference in my hometown. One of the great things about conferences is that writers can network with big editors and agents and even meet their own editors face to face. You get to pick and choose which workshops you want to attend and chat it up with other authors.

Funny thing is, at events like this, I love being a barfly and listening to industry professionals gab about the latest trends, best sellers and *gasp*...pitches from starry eyed writers. Barfly is the appropriate word too, not because I'm as much a part of the scenery as the bar stools but because I become like a fly on the wall. After a long plane ride, tons of workshops and hours of pitches, editors and agents want to relax too. And what is it about this profession? Many of us enjoy a good cocktail...or two or three. This is a great time to either strike up a conversation...not a pitch....big no no...but schmoozing with some of New York's finest is a big perk at these events.

So, do I have your attention now? Do you want to know some of the trends I'm hearing right from the mouth of the holy, holy agents and editors? From the very mouths of the folks that sign us? Listen up.

Number 1, paranormal is not going anywhere. Yes, I've heard that the market is saturated too. I've heard editors and agents will puke if they have to read another tale about a shifter or a vamp or a dragon or a fairy. Wrong. Big myth. From what I heard last weekend, paranormal is strong and growing, especially in the YA market. And it's not slowing down in the adult market either. Now we have erotic vamps too. How sexy is that? We even have mermaids lusting over vikings. Not to worry...if you're a paranormal author, you're red hot right now.

Number 2, Want to know what industry professionals are hungry for right now more than ever? I did. And I don't write it either but you might. Write it down. High concept science fiction. And hold onto your seats folks....this is a genre considered dead right now by many...thought I never thought so...I know many, many readers that love it and I don't ever see it going away. Historicals. Keep writing those babies. What kind of historicals are agents and editors hungry for right now? Erotic regency. So if you're talented enough to write these..uh...I wrote one and the research nearly killed me...go for it.

Number 3, Want to know what editors and agents are sick to death of seeing land in their inbox and pitch sessions? Sexy cops. Men in uniform. The industry is truly sick of the detective, fireman, policeman that comes to the lady's rescue. It's a tired old plot. From what I hear, don't even try it.

So, to recap...Paranormal is here to stay for Adult and YA. High concept SF is gaining steam and the NY elite are slobbering for ultra sexy historicals, especially regency. And no cops, detectives or men in uniform. Boring, boring, boring.

So, you see, there are more benefits to drinking red wine. Become a barfly like me at your next writer's conference. You won't be sorry.


Mary Ricksen said...

Imagine what you would have heard if you just drank soda! Ha! Thanks for the feedback, it's good to know.
I love to listen too, you learn a lot don't you.

Skhye said...

I heard the same thing about a month ago from a friend attending a conference in New York. Paranormal is the hottest thing on the market because of TWILIGHT. My booksigning last month was kind of strange too. People would grab my book with the kilted guy who has a pentacle on his chest... Ugh, paranormal symbolism! Anyway, I also heard the hotter a Regency the better. ;)

Great post. You're so nuts! Leading us on like a bull by the ring with all that suspense... Thanks for sharing, girl!

Nightingale said...

I'm going to RT and I'll take your advice. Bar Fly here I come. I'll let you know what I hear. Thanks for sharing!!!

Celia Yeary said...

Alisha--I write western historicals, while being told, "western historicals are dead." Well, I didn't need to hear that, but I kept on keeping on. I cannot write science fiction, even though my major was science, and everything I wrote sounded like a scientific research paper. I loosened up, but still I write Western Historicals. I couldn't write Regency if my life depended on it. On the other hand--have you noticed how "scientific" Regencies sound? The are very precise, perfect grammar, almost cold, with a little humor thrown in.Well, maybe I will couple my science background with Regency. Hmmm, maybe I'm on to something. Thanks for the info! Celia

Rebecca J. Clark said...

Dang. My WIP has a detective. But he's dead, does that make a difference???

Great information--thanks for posting.

Alisha Paige said...

Mary~ Ha ha..I was just sipping.

Skhye~ Thanks for stopping by and making me laugh as always. Bull by the ring..snort!

Linda~ Ooh, I'm so jealous! Have fun at RT!

Celia ~ I love western historicals so please don't ever stop! I wrote a historical set during The Great Depression. Wow...that baby was nearly impossible to get published! I think no matter what the market says, we should follow our heart and write what makes us happy.

Rebecca ~ A dead detective! Very cool! Hey, that's a paranormal so that's perfect for the market and besides, who cares about the trends all the time? The reason so many pitch the cops and detectives is because they make great stories.

L.A. Mitchell said...

Thanks, Alisha. You give me hope for my high concept sf :)

Debra St. John said...

Thanks for sharing this with us, Alisha. It's nice to know what should be out there and what shouldn't be.

Judith Leger said...

Whew! Glad to know what I write is still hot. Got a little worried there at first, but you straightened it out. Thanks for sharing. And I too, love being a barfly. Hee, hee, the things you hear!

Kathye Quick said...

Thanks for sharing. I thought the paranormal market was over-done, apparently not!!

If that photo is you, you are gorgeous!! Love the concept